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A bunion looks like a bump on the side of the big toe. This bump is actually the result of an abnormality of the foot bones that causes the big toe to lean toward the second toe instead of being straight. This angle produces the bump on the big toe.

What is a Bunion?

Bunion (also referred to as hallux valgus) is a small bony bump that appears at the base of big toe joint in response to improper weight or pressure distribution on metatarsal joints. It affects the angle between the big toe and the second toe leading to pain, redness and soring of surrounding skin.


Signs and Symptoms of Bunion

Bunions present as:

  • Pain during walking
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Increased propensity to develop infections at the site of bunion
  • Arthritis
  • Cosmetic defect of big toe and second toe

Causes of Bunion

Bunions are more frequently reported in the setting of joint deformities of the big toe, genetic defects of muscle metabolism, foot deformities, advanced osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as chronic use of ill-fitting or tight footwear.

Statistics and Epidemiology related to Bunions

The prevalence of hallux valgus or bunions in elderly Australian population is fairly high (35.7% in individuals over 65 years of age as opposed to 23% in adults aged 18-65 years).


Nix, S., Smith, M., & Vicenzino, B. (2010). Prevalence of hallux valgus in the general population: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Foot Ankle Res, 3(1), 21.

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